Skip to content


It’s been all quiet on the Little Bike Blog front here in lovely autumnal Melbourne (our best season), but you can be assured that little bikes are not being neglected out there in the real world. Here’s proof:  Lisa of the tip-find Malvern Star has sent me this…

1. my bike

I have finally finished my bike project. yay! here are the images for you of before, through and after. The first image  is off your blog I think- its what my bike looked like when I found it. 

The bike had was in a pretty bad way, with only part of the Malvern Star sticker showing.


I had to google “vern sta” to try and find out what kind of bike it was and that’s how I found your blog and what brand bike it was- bless your little cotton socks!
It was an amazing project. I could not believe how well the chrome shined up from a little TLC and elbow grease.

My partner is a painter/decorator, and a gem, so he helped me out with the new sexy red paint job.

redThe only thing I have replaced on the bike are the handle grips and the MS stickers which I found on ebay.

5 4


All in all I am so happy with the finished product. finished

I would love to keep it but I have 2 bikes already that I am “doing up”. It makes me sad but I have decided to sell it rather than have 3 bikes, and hopefully someone else will get as much joy out of it as I have.


Lovely! I’m always so impressed by people who have the time and the patience to fix up bikes. It looks gorgeous, (though from here is also looks like the chain could do with a little loving, just to finish off the job, but that might be a trick of the sparkly Queensland light  – note Lisa’s lush garden with ferns and bromiliads giving away her location and her green thumb.) Thanks Lisa, I hope it finds a rider to love it as much as you have.

To finish off, here’s a little bike spotting observation for those of you so inclined – the rack on this has only a single reflector8. reflector

not the signature Malvern Star alien face. Family star alien face reflectors

For more on bike parts looking like cute aliens, click here

A bike for Stuart’s beloved

Bike lovers –  we have a reader contribution!

And just in the nick of time… I’ve been in the grip of blogger’s existential angst and just today was considering  pressing pause on Little Bike Blog when I came home to find a message from Stuart in my inbox

This is Stuart’s wife’s new bike as found…

Stuart's gitane before

And this is what he he transformed it to…

Stuart's Gitane

and this is what he had to say about it…

this is how it ended up! rechromed and rebuilt original wheels, new 2 pack paint, new decals, everything polished. I think I like riding it more than my wife! The back story is that she wanted a retro bike like some of her friends had, but I promised her I would do something a bit different, and restore a genuine French retro bike. it is all original, even the lights work. I had a lot of enjoyment restoring it, and it gets heaps of comments! I love looking on this blog, have been lurking for a while, there are some real nice bikes on there. Nice work!

(Note how I left in the bit about how he likes the blog…was that wrong?)

And here is what I have to say about it:
1. NICE RED! (everyone knows red bikes go faster)

2. love the addition of the congratulatory beer in the photo

3. did you take a leaf out those make-over shows when you were taking the ‘before’ shot? Not really showing it in its best light crammed into the workshop, unflattering angle etc.

4. very exciting to see a non-folding small wheeled Gitane – it’s a Little Bike Blog first

5. hooray for Stuart, you have restored my faith that we little bike folk like to see what each other are up to.


So this is the thing. Since Rodger’s acute observation on my Three in one plus one   post that the three bikes had the same frame, I have magically become a frame expert. And my newly expert eyes tell me this North Fitzroy-residing Custom Built Parade  has the same frame as a the Graecross, the Malvern Star and the made in Japan Centurian featured in said post.

custom built Parade north fitzroy

What does it mean? Was there a shopper bike frame racket in the 70s with dodgy dealers peddling (or should that be pedalling) so-called unique bikes, which were in fact some homogenous take-over-the world, one-size-fits-all (well that bit’s true) designs? And look at that chain guard? Regular readers will know I am a chain-guard tragic, my expert eye in this matter is well honed, not some Johnny Come Lately like my frame expertise, and that expert eye says I’VE SEEN THAT CHAIN GUARD BEFORE. And yet, I have never seen a Custom Built Parade…

custom built parade

made in South Australia no less.

custom built decal

I’m shocked. The bottom of my bike spotting world has fallen out.

It’s like I just found out that the dude from the Sopranos wasn’t actually in the garbage collection business.

Have I been photographing the same bike over and over?

Has the small wheeled bike loving fraternity been sniggering at me behind my back all the time?

Should I even bother to go on or is this the last calling card I leave?

custon built card

The answer to this and all those other questions will be revealed in the fullness of time (as opposed to the emptiness of time…which is probably a concept only Stephen Hawkins could wrap his head around)…stay tuned.

Around the block

halmark city

With its wheels coming in at an estimated 24 or 26 inches this little bike either just squeezes into the (rather elastic) LBB criteria, or just misses out. But hey, it’s not all about the wheels, check out the frame…

Hallmark city 2

Snugged up to this (also rather attractive) full size Raleigh it’s clear that this little Hallmark had a past life as a kid’s bike (which has been around the block quite a few times according to its beautifully worn paint work – love that patina).

Any anyway, what little bike blogger could resist it? The mudguards, the new tyres and the funky lock are telling me that there is some big love going on for this charmingly customised bike, and in the end that’s the point of the whole exercise.

hallmark city big

Fitzroy classic

For want of a little bike sighting this week I am posting the first of what may become an occasional series of Fitzroy classics (or maybe it will be Melbourne classics…or maybe it will be a one off…who can say) .
Sila front

Anyhoo…here it is, Sila Espresso Bar (posing here with my big wheels).
Located on the sunny side of the sleepy end of Brunswick Street, run by the same family since I started going there twenty years ago, same delicious home-made biscuits, same coffee machine

Sila coffee machine

same red chairs (recently reupholstered so looking very smart) same calm ambience.

Sila inside


sila sign

Here is the news

No bikes to post, but discovered  a very funny post on News Biscuit (new to me) through reading an online conversation about cyclists’ apparent invisibility…here it is

Three in one plus one

Little bike bonanza this week dear reader. On Monday I snapped this classic purple Stowaway in St Kilda Road outside the Arts Centre  (spotted on the way to see David Byrne and St Vincent no less – cultured me!)

St Kilda Rd Raleigh decal

St Kilda Rd Raleigh light

St Kilda Rd Raleigh rear

Then today I got the trifecta all on the same corner (Gertrude and Napier).

Spotted this one first – a Centurian (new to me) with a bit of home styling in the paint department.


Quality from where? The next word was painted over. Tantalising.

Centurion badge

Centurian decal

Centurian chain guard

Centurian detail

Centurian lugs

It was a nice warm evening and the Centurian was standing guard outside a pub with  outdoor tables, so what’s a girl to do? Stop for a beer naturally. And lucky I did, because what did I spy from my beer-sipping vantage point?
None other than this Graecross…

Gertrude Graecross

The rider came out of the restaurant it was parked in front of and very kindly offered to move it so I could get a better shot . (Not sure if she arranged the artfully places small child in the background.)
She told me she’d bought it on ebay for $80…sweet.
She also said she’d had some work done on the gears…

Gertrude Graecross gear lever

Gertrude Graecross gears which, I notice, were 5 speed – I thought Graecross normally had 3 speed hub gears…(I shall pause to consult the oracle – me) WRONG! Looks like they come in single speed and 5 speed. ANYWAY moving on… it’s got some nice details.

Gertrude Graecross chainguard

Gertrude Graecross saddle

Gertrude Graecross wheel

and the best bit of the story is that the rider’s sister has a powder blue Malvern Star and they ride round together,
twin like.
Love that!

On the subject of Malvern Stars, here’s the third bike of the lucky corner trifecta. Don’t you love the sweep of the Malvern Star handle bars? (If yes, here’s and even lovelier example from an earlier post –Follow through.

Gertrude Malvern star handle bars

I have posted this bike before (here), but it has some lovely new additions that I just had to document.
This contemporary retro-styled headlight

Gertrude Malvern Star

Gertrude Malvern Star light soft

 these nifty panniers.

Gertrude Malvern pannier

and the world’s shiniest gold bell

Gertrude Malvern Star bell